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Spotify Enables Social Music for Ford Vehicles

Last year, Ford released a new slogan, scrapping old slogans like “Built Tough” and “Drive One” for its new mantra, “Go Further.”

Your Ford definitely goes further with the Sync AppLink infotainment system in the dashboard. Now, Spotify has joined the ranks of audio apps like Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, Rhapsody, Slacker (News - Alert) and MOG in the AppLink ecosystem.

Ford and Spotify announced the partnership at Mobile World Congress. The music app easily fits Ford’s requirement that no app distract from the act of driving.

The coolest feature of Spotify for Ford is its ability to accept suggested playlists from a friend. If you’re going on a cross-country trip, then your friend can send you his or her favorite list of road tunes. Your Ford will say, “You’ve been sent a new playlist. Would you like to play it?” And you take it from there.

Ford drivers can also enjoy Spotify’s (News - Alert) 20-million-song catalog while syncing in their music libraries, genre and radio stations, and shared playlists. Drivers can either use the Sync head unit or voice controls to activate their selection of tunes. They can also create new radio stations on the spot.

After Ford’s recent release of its software development kit, over 2,500 developers have completed and submitted apps. The company has also opened Sync to a lot of smaller developers. The problem that Ford faces right now, according to Kevin Fitchard (News - Alert) of GigaOM, is the challenge of distribution and discovery.

Currently, Ford lovers can’t navigate to their favorite app store and get information about which apps are Sync-enabled. Ford can promote a small number of individual apps, but as its ecosystem grows, the carmaker may need to set up its own app store. Alternatively, it could adopt the General Motors (News - Alert) approach and enable the app store right in the dashboard.

Paul Mascarenas, Ford’s CTO, isn’t giving away any strategy specifics. Spotify, in the meantime, will be available over AppLink in the U.S., Europe and Australia.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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